South East Asia






FULL COUNTRY NAME: Kingdom of Thailand

AREA: 517,000sq km

POPULATION: 62 million

CAPITAL CITY: Bangkok (pop 6 million)

PEOPLE: 75% Thai, 11% Chinese, 3.5% Malay, also Mon, Khmer, Phuan and Karen minorities


RELIGION: 95% Buddhism, 4% Muslim

CLIMATE: Thailand has three seasons: rainy from July to October, cool and dry from November to February, and hot from March to June.

CURRENCY: There are 100 satangs in 1 baht. (B=baht) Notes are issued in denominations of B1000 (gray), B500 (purple), B100 (red), B50 (blue), B20 (green), and B10 (brown). There are 10, 5 and 1 baht coin, and 50 and 25 satang. Most foreign currencies and traveller cheques are easily changed at banks, hotels or moneychangers. All major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the kingdom.

ELECTRICITY: The electric system is 220 Volt AC (50 cycles). There are many plugs and sockets in use. Travelers with shavers, tape recorders and other appliances should carry a plug-adapter kit.

VISAS: Visitors to Thailand who hold valid passports or travelling documents issued by any country included in an officially issued list of eligible countries are permitted one-month visa-free visits. If planning a longer stay, a Tourist Visa valid for 60 days must be obtained from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad. Visa extensions can be applied for at the Immigration Department in Bangkok.

GOVERNMENT: Democratic constitutional monarchy

OVERVIEW: A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US ally following the conflict.

The country divides into four regions - North, Northeast, Central and South - sharing borders with Malaysia on the south, Burma on the west, Lao on northeast and east, and Kampucha on the east. Thailand is an easy country to travel in, with efficient transport, cheap accommodation and a delicious national cuisine.

The Thais are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality to strangers. The Thais have an unlimited inclination to smile. Thais truely welcome visitors, they sincerely enjoy being of service and getting to know people. If you're interested in ruins, temples and deserted cities, this is the place to go. If the beach scene interests you, you're in luck. Thailand's islands and beaches are very nice and provide many lvels of amenities and services; everything from a $10 night bungalow to luxurious hotels. As for the urban adventure, a visit to one of the largest cities on earth is a must. Bangkok, although it can be a little overwhelming with its chaos and scale, can provide a lot of entertainment from its energy and cultural treasures.




COUNTRY FULL NAME: Federation of Malaysia

POPULATION: 23,000,000

CURRENCY NAME: Malaysian Ringgit Code: MYR Symbol: RM



OVERVIEW: The British were relatively late arrivals to the region in the late 18th century, following Portuguese and later Dutch settlement, but they played a key role following the European wars of the 1790s and, in particular, the defeat of the Netherlands by France in 1795. The Federated Malay States were created in 1895, and remained under British colonial control until the Japanese invasion of 1942.

After Japanese defeat in 1945, the 11 states were once again incorporated as British Protectorates and, in 1948, became the Federation of Malaya. In 1963, the Federation of Malaya merged with Singapore and the former British colonies of Sarawak and Sabah, on north Borneo, to form modern Malaysia. Singapore seceded to become an independent state in its own right in 1965, leaving Malaysia in its present form.

Its convoluted history highlights why Malaysia is so ethnically and culturally diverse. Even better, the magnificent landscape is no less fascinating - dense jungles, soaring peaks and lush tropical rainforests harbour abundant and exotic flora and fauna.

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